Of America’s 11 largest cities, Atlanta has the lowest salaries for software engineering, yet an affordable cost of living means that money goes farther than most other places, according to a survey by a California jobs company.
The average salary for engineers in metro Atlanta is $96,000, according to Hired Inc.
That compares to the $132,000 average in San Francisco, but the Atlanta engineer will have a better standard of living, said Mehul Patel, CEO of the three-year-old company in an interview with the Journal-Constitution.
The Atlanta average will buy as much in Atlanta as $162,000 does in San Francisco, he said. “You just have a lot more spending power in Atlanta.”
Hired’s software and web presence is intended to connect techies and potential employers. The company did the survey to get a handle on the national market for tech workers and to compare the different cities.
An engineer’s salary goes farthest in Austin, followed by Denver, Seattle and Atlanta, according to Hired’s calculations. The only city with a worse “effective” salary than San Francisco is New York, Patel said.
Atlanta’s boosters are increasingly right about the growth in technology and engineering jobs, Patel said.
“Often we have candidates from Atlanta looking for job opportunities elsewhere, but they are often surprised to find how many job opportunities there are in Atlanta and they end up staying in Atlanta.”
But the Bay Area and Silicon Valley have a cachet.
Atlanta employers are so anxious to get San Francisco engineers that they pay a premium, he said: When San Francisco software engineers move to Atlanta, they earn an average of $111,000 – that is, $15,000 higher than the average engineering salary for the region.